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DISORDERED MIND: What Unusual Brains Tell Us About Ourselves
Bibliophile price: £6.00
The brain is one of the most complex and extraordinary parts of the body and Nobel Prize-winning scientist and professor Eric R. Kandel not only studies how the functions of the brain and mind can go wrong, but also explores how these cases of brain disruption can further our understanding of thought, feeling, behaviour, memory and creativity which may, one day, lead to a unified theory of the mind. Eric R. Kandel is recipient of not only the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2000 for his studies of learning and memory, but also an author of award-winning books In Search of Memory and The Age of Insight and co-author of Principles of Neural Science, the standard textbook of the field. From tackling disorders to do with memory including chapters such as 'Memory, the Storehouse of the Self: Dementia' and 'Movement: Parkinson's and Huntington's Diseases', to abstract concepts of our self, including 'Sexual Differentiation of the Brain and Gender Identity', 'Our Innate Creativity: Brain Disorders and Art', and 'Our Intensely Social Nature: The Autism Spectrum', you can discover things about your brain and how it works in ways you could not conceive of before. Comprehend how the critical insights on the nature of schizophrenia and depression came about by accident when drugs designed to treat another disorder were observed to have another effect on patients with these brain disorders, and consider how Kandel debunks the theory of René Descartes that emotion and reason, body and mind, are separate thanks to studies of fear in post-traumatic stress disorder or chronic anxiety which prove that our brain consolidates the memory of fear, with present innovative psychotherapy and drugs beginning to help people with anxiety disorders unlearn fear. The discussion on gender identity includes life stories of both Bruce Jenner's transition to Caitlyn Jenner and Barbara Barres transitioning to become Ben Barres, and our understanding of depression being translated from Hippocrates theory that depression was a result of 'black bile' (one of the four humours called 'melancholia' in Greek), to Shakespeare's Hamlet who refers to the state of the mood as being 'how weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable seem to me all of the uses of this world'. With diagrams of drugs targeting synapses, single-nucleotide variation, and copy number variations in both DNA deletion and duplication, as well as putting faces to names such as Phineas Gage with the iron bar that injured his brain. Artwork from depictions of cats or a cheat with an ace of diamonds, to numerous self-portraits. Graphs and diagrams, 292pp.

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